Could Tom Brady end his career the opposite of how his two decades of dominance launched?
Brady, 44, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell on Sunday, January 23, to the franchise, the Los Angeles Rams, he won his first career Super Bowl. He led the New England Patriots past the then-St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXXVI in 2002 with a game-winning drive that resulted in a field goal. The Rams on Sunday ended the Bucs’ season with a field goal.
For the time being, Brady won’t commit publicly to any future football plans following the Bucs’ stunning 30-27 loss to the Rams.
“I haven’t put a lot of thought into it,” Brady told the media on Sunday. “Taking it day by day.”
Brady had just frantically rallied the Bucs from a 27-3 hole to tie the game 27-27 only to see the Rams march down field and kick the game-winner. He finished with 329 yards and a touchdown on 30-54 passing.
“A lot of guys made a bunch of different plays to get us back into it,” Brady said. “They [the Rams] just made one more than us.”
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Brady Retirement Rumors Swell
Speculation of Brady’s potential retirement ramped up going into the game amid the mysterious postponement of the last episode of his documentary series “Man in the Arena” on ESPN Plus. Gotham Chopra, a filmmaker for Brady’s film company, Religion of Sports, tweeted on Jan. 18 that the final episode will “likely” come out in springtime.
Chopra added that Brady wanted “time and space” to “really reflect on what went down in Tampa last year” in the post.
Former teammate Rob Ninkovich, now an NFL analyst, said Brady retiring wouldn’t be surprising during ESPN’s “Get Up” show on Jan. 20. Ninkovich noted that Brady has achieved plenty and has various business ventures off the field, too.
Then, ESPN reported on Sunday that there’s knowledge within the Bucs organization of Brady potentially retiring. Bucs sources describe Brady’s status as “noncommittal to playing beyond this season” according to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington and Adam Schefter.
Brady stirred the pot more with his cryptic comment on how envisions a perfect ending to his career. He shared those thoughts with NBC broadcasters Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, which aired during the Bucs-Rams game.
“Winning the Super Bowl, but I don’t know that’s this year. I’d love to end on a Super Bowl. … But I think I’ll know when I know. … But there’s a lot that’s inconclusive.”
Only Brady not winning a Super Bowl became conclusive on Sunday in the Divisional Round loss to the Rams.
Bucs Teammates Weigh in on Brady’s Future
Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans won’t try to pull a Brett Favre convoy to beg Brady for another season in Tampa.
“I don’t have to say nothing to him,” Evans told the media on Sunday. “He’s self-motivated, he knows what he wants, and hopefully we’ll get him back next year. Best player ever, one of the best teammates, and one of the best leaders I’ve ever seen, so hopefully we can get him back.”
Linebacker Lavonte David likewise leaned toward Brady’s future going either direction versus a firm return for 2022.
“I don’t know what’s going on with that,” David told the media on Sunday. “I know Tom is a competitor. Shoot. He always says he got something to prove. But what more can he do?”
“If he come back, obviously we will welcome him back with open arms, but you gotta let him decide that for himself before,” David added.